How to Turn Your Real World Expertise into Digital Authority Now

BY: ON WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 04, 2017

    Most businesses have realized how important social media can be to their growth potential and customer satisfaction. This has led to an over saturation of promotion focused small businesses that are overlooked by the larger internet audience even if they are well received by local residents. The new year is the perfect opportunity to use the valuable experience gained from operating a physical business and create an authoritative digital presence.

    Digital Storefront

    A business that sells physical products and does not have an online platform for sales is limiting their own growth potential. According to the most recent data, online sales are projected to reach more than $500 billion within the next three years. This represents an increase of about 9 percent annually. If only a fraction of the people interested in buying a product are able to locate the digital storefront it will still represent a dramatic increase over the number of buyers available locally.

    Depending on the type of product the company sells, there are several different ways to provide online shopping to their customers. Some businesses feel more comfortable selling through an established storefront such as Amazon or eBay. Other businesses are more interested in setting themselves apart and having full control of every aspect of online sales and branding. Some of the post popular platforms include:

      ·Wiseintro – This service allows you to get a simple website up and running in seconds. You can start with templates, or build your own from scratch, from a library of content.

      ·WooCommerce – This is a plugin that is designed to work seamlessly within WordPress sites. It works as fluidly as other plugins which is one of the key benefits for choosing this platform.

      ·Shopify – A longtime favorite that provides diversity and customization with a large app store to focus on specific areas of development.

      ·Squarespace – Offers a huge number of templates to help create a unique shopping experience. Requires no coding ability and has no limits on stock. Best for smaller businesses.

      ·Magento – Easily one of the most scalable of platforms, however, it is one of the more complicated options. This is a good choice for business owners who are comfortable with technology in order to utilize advanced features.

    There are dozens of online shopping platforms and the best fit for a business will ultimately be decided on the level of technological expertise of the person who will be managing it and the needs of the company. Take the time to explore different options before making a final decision.


    Online Booking

    Even companies who do not sell physical products will benefit from having a more robust online identity. By limiting the time potential clients can make an appointment to regular office hours, companies are potentially missing hundreds of bookings that would be made when people are looking for services at home after work.

    Online scheduling software gives people the ability to make appointments for services, consultations, events, or classes from their smartphone or computer at a time that is most convenient for them. It is a great way to offer additional convenience for clients. Some of the most popular platforms to consider are:

      ·Calendly – An elegant and clean platform that will allow companies to share events, integrate with online calendars, automate notifications, and an option to upgrade to premium features.

      ·TimeTrade - Attractive and easy to use, this platform has a user friendly interface and the ability to schedule in 15 minute increments. Integrates easily with the most prominent online calendars.

      ·Acuity Scheduling – The graphic user interface makes it very easy to use. Limited customer service features beyond confirmation and cancellation but substantial customization options.

      ·Bookeo – A large variety of settings to make it useful for different types of businesses.

    Choosing the best online scheduling system for a business involves taking many factors into consideration.

    Online Courses

    Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) have seen a tremendous amount of growth in 2016. This growth is only expected to continue as more businesses and individuals become familiar with the technology and aware of the potential for increased revenue.

    There are two ways to leverage this growth to improve brand awareness or earnings in 2017. Offering free classes or tutorials on an online learning platform can increase the authority level of a business as consumers begin to recognize the value of the information provided. It is also an excellent way to generate leads for potential sales conversions. Individuals or companies with a specialized skillset can also turn their expertise into profit with these courses. The types of classes people are interested in purchasing are virtually unlimited. If there are people who will pay someone to do a particular task, there are even more people who will pay to learn how to do it themselves. Some of the most popular online platforms for creating and distributing courses are:

      ·Kajabi – Has the ability to create online courses with video, audio, or text that can be showcased on a custom website. Facilitates community discussion within the course, marketing emails, multiple payment options, and the ability to incorporate affiliate marketing.

      ·Teachable – Encourages the building of a school filled with multiple courses and provides numerous marketing and sales.

      ·Udemy – Established platform with many free available courses and user-friendly interface. A good option for companies who are more interested in exposure than monetizing their offerings.

      Screenshot: Kajabi



      Image via Shutterstock


About the Author

Lucinda Honeycutt

Lucinda Honeycutt is a freelance writer and web designer nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina. She's a tech geek, foodie, and research junkie. She writes about a little bit of everything.

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